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Haymaking during the War.


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I feel that these memories should be recorded by eyewitnesses who are slowly dying out.Aincient farming practices were snuffed out after the second world war with the advent of the Welfare State,the Common Market,Health & Safety and finally the (Vultures)No Win NO Fee lawyers.

When the hay was ready the Farmer (Ike) would 'open up' the field,i.e. he would mow a margin at each end with the Scythe,just enough for the tractor to turn after each cut.As a 6 y.o. we were expected to follow the mowing and make grass ties which we used to tie up an armful of hay into a sheaf.These sheafs we stacked in pyramid fashion to make a stook so that they could dry.

A week or ten days later we would find ourselves atop the haywain and the sheaves would be passed up to us with sharp pitchforks,we would weave them overlapping the sides so that the load would not slip on the rough cart tracks back to the barn.As the load got higher we would be marrooned on top and have to travel back like that.We were then ideally placed to open the small door high up in the side of the barn,if there was enough residule hay in the bottom we would take great delight in jumping down into it,otherwise it was a matter of crawling along the rafters to get to the access ladder,youngsters were vital family members to subsistance farmers but alas- no more.

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